Peppermint, vol. 1

Hey is an average teenage girl who has an above average crush on the hot teen singer EZ. Luckily for her, he goes to her school and he’s very friendly to her, always asking her to help him practice lines for the shows and movies he acts in. Unluckily for her, EZ’s friendliness catches the attention of a gang of crazed fan-girls and their leader, Naomi. Naomi is determined to have EZ to herself and she s more than happy to bully Hey mercilessly every time EZ pays extra attention to her. During one of these bullying sessions, Hey is rescued by EO, a skateboarder in junior high who wants Hey to pretend to be his girlfriend for reasons of his own. Now every time Hey tries to get up the nerve to let EZ know her true feelings, EO is in the way. Will she ever get the boy she wants, assuming she can figure out which boy that is?

I wanted to like Peppermint and if I hadn’t read–and fallen in love with–Ji-Sang Shin & Geo’s Chocolat first, I probably would have. The two manhwa are very similar both deal with the world of Korean fandom, both have a girl in full crush-mode on an idol, both have an annoying (yet cute) boy who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, both deal with girls bullying other girls, etc. but Chocolat is far better written, drawn, and presented. Seo’s work is interesting, but she doesn’t develop her characters enough for the reader to truly care about them. She also relies too much on typical shojo elements without branching out and finding her own path. Her drawing style makes it hard to tell the characters ages, important in a work dealing with both junior high and high school age students, and her characters movements seem stiff and forced. In addition to those problems, Tokyopop seems to have thrown this volume together haphazardly and ended up with an extra page stuck in, making it hard to keep the action straight, and some of the dialogue is lost in the fold of the page. I tried to pick up volume two to see if the story got better, but unfortunately it seems to have gone even further into the problems mention above. An optional purchase for libraries with shojo fans who have read everything else, but I’d make sure you have all the volumes of Chocolat first.

Peppermint, vol. 1
By Eun-Jin Seo
ISBN: 1598166816
Tokyopop, 2006

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